Employee trust key to a strong practice

June 25, 2012

Times are difficult, people are stressed, and employers are worried. What can you do, as an employer, to build a successful practice with efficient, friendly, motivated staff? The answer is simple.

Key Points

Competitive organizations fully understand the importance of trust to the success of their business. They know how to earn and keep the trust of their employees and-perhaps most importantly-they understand the ramifications of having little or no trust. No organization can afford a decrease in morale and lack of respect for management. Once these occur, stress levels rise, productivity plummets, absenteeism rates soar, and damaged customer relations occur.

Because stress occurs daily in the work place, you want your employees to feel secure. Increasing the levels of trust with employees will reduce turnover, increase employee productivity, create a more positive work environment, and motivate employees truly to care about your organization.

The consequences of relationships lacking in trust frequently include diminished performance and profits. Positive motivation creates trust when employees are treated as if they and their quality of life matter. Recognition of this fact is free yet priceless. In this economy of rapid changes and restructuring, employees need to feel secure and compensated for their dedication and productivity. When employees only hear promises and unattainable goals, the result is low or no trust.

REAP THE REWARDS

Organizational trust refers to employees' faith in goal attainment and to the belief that, ultimately, this faith will prove beneficial. Employees treat their customers as they are treated. Have you ever walked into an office and the first person you see is rude and annoyed at your arrival, and all you hear is complaining during your stay? I can assure you that office is not bringing in all of the revenue it could and actually is losing money.

If you have employees who are consumed with complaining about their work environment, you are breeding dysfunction. These employees are toxic and can and should be replaced for the sake of your business. Just as employees need to be able to trust management, you need to be able to trust your employees.

When employees aren't involved in toxic behavior but see you tolerating it from others, it translates into a lack of trust in you as a manager, in your commitment to your staff and their choices, and in your commitment to the success of the business. Lack of employee trust may reduce productivity and cause good employees to depart. Remember, just as customers abandon companies they don't trust, so will employees.

With this in mind, organizations with little or no employee trust can look forward to high costs related to hiring and training and rehiring and retraining. With so much time spent on finding and keeping employees, productivity will continue to suffer.

Acknowledge when change is needed, make the change, and watch it increase your revenue. Make this the year that you implement a plan. Do not become consumed with changes you cannot control, but realize that employee/employer trust is a factor over which you do have control.

4 TIPS for fostering trust

If you own a medical practice, you have a responsibility to your employees and patients to develop a successful and efficient practice. Building trust with all the members of your staff plays a huge role in accomplishing this. Here are a few steps that you, as an employer, can take to ensure the creation and promotion of trusting relationships with your employees:

• Be predictable. As an employer, make predictability and accuracy in measuring and paying for performance your ultimate goals. In the end, these qualities will help maintain the employee efficiency and productivity every practice needs to prosper in these difficult economic times.

• Be clear about your expectations. Being clear with staff about your expectations, and then acknowledging your staff members when they meet those expectations, will lead to confidence and consistency in management. Praise someone individually when he or she fulfills responsibilities. Doing so provides employees with positive feedback and acknowledges your appreciation of their work.

• Establish boundaries. Boundaries are important, but they must be well defined if they are to promote connection rather than separation. Boundaries allow staff members to work within their departments, have an obvious delegation of assignments, and know with whom they can interact and where they can seek guidance.

• Honor all agreements. Your staff members need to realize that their word is the most simple, yet crucial, way to develop and maintain trust. Should management or the organization as a whole consider agreements trivial, then trust will never be a word associated with your organization. Your reputation and your value for staff members will be affected. If you don't know whether you can keep a promise, don't make it.

Employee turnover rates: 2010

Percentage of employee turnover reported by respondents to the Medical Group Management Association Cost Survey for Multispeciality Practices: 2011 Report Based on 2010 Data:
• Receptionist and medical records staff: 25%
• Nursing and clinical support staff: 20.22%
• Billing/collections and data entry: 11.77%
• Nonphysician providers: 8.33%
• Physicians: 3.59%
• Administrative staff: 0%*

*Answers to the survey are voluntary and the data are based on respondents to the survey (549 groups).

The author is chief executive officer of International Medical Billing Management & Consulting Inc., Punta Gorda Florida. Send your feedback to medec@advanstar.com Also engage at http://www.twitter.com/MedEconomics and http://www.facebook.com/MedicalEconomics.

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